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Thread: If you owned a quilt store

  1. #26
    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
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    a friendly and knowledgable staff that can take the time necessary to help a customer... but not to he point of hovering.
    "perfection is the enemy of done."
    "the secret to having it all is knowing you already do."

  2. #27
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    All great ideas. Another would be......no matter the amount of money spent....a customer would be treated with the same respect, courtesy, and be friendly as one that spent a lot of money. I refuse to go to a local shop 15 minutes away because of the service I have had for a small dollar amount. Another that was going to buy yards of fabric was practically given the red carpet treatment. I'll spend the extra money and gas and go to the shops in the city that are 2 hours away. Customer Service should be a plus.

  3. #28
    Junior Member time2quilt's Avatar
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    I especially like your idea of "moving" the fabric so you don't see the same thing over and over. As per a website...only have a nice website if it is kept up to date. I visit so many sites that aren't kept updated and I'd almost rather they didn't have a site than have one that is not current. Good list.
    Tough times don't last, tough people do.

  4. #29
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Seamstome, your ideas are all good. It does take a lot of energy and backup help to keep a shop going. One of the biggest profit probably comes from machine sales. You'll also need to find a space to rent that doesn't use up all of your profits. I was at one rural shop last summer where evening classes were offered, plus there was a bring your project night once in awhile and the shop served lemonade and/or wine. Not sure I'd do well with the wine! LOL!
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  5. #30
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    Some great ideas. Here are mine.

    I would like to see quilts displayed on the walls, lots of them : )

    I think that anyone selling machines should be able to answer questions about all the machines. Makes me nervous when they say well I don't know. The lady I bought my machine from was like that. Although I really liked her, and she was really great in the CS dept she lacked the knowledge I was looking for on my machine. The sales rep should know the difference between machines as well. I realize all of this would be difficult, but sales reps should not just have knowledge about the machines they cater to, but all that they carry. They seem to favor brands.
    Amythyst

  6. #31
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    The ideas mentioned are creative, and vitality is essential for a quilt shop to succeed. However, I do think that a key ingredient to success is treating the business as a business. It is not enough to be passionate about quilting. A business is a financial undertaking with profitability as a goal. It requires ample financial backing and commitment.

  7. #32
    Super Member sparkys_mom's Avatar
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    You have wonderful ideas. I suspect there would be a very heavy investment required to follow through on all of that. One store that springs to mind is Missouri Star Quilt Company.
    Pat

  8. #33
    Senior Member calicojoan's Avatar
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    I think you are on track for a great shop. I fell in love with a place in Alaska years ago, but soon found out that they samples never changed in 3 years. They lost my interest, and ended up out of business. I am sure it was not due to me alone!

  9. #34
    Senior Member ksdot417's Avatar
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    I love it when there are little nooks and crannies in the store. I always imagine that I've found something that no one else had found. I'd shop in your store too!

  10. #35
    Junior Member homebody323's Avatar
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    My dream shop was a 2 story log cabin with fireplace on the lower level and comfy chairs to sit and quilt in. Upstairs was open above the fireplace and the rest was classroom and bedrooms for retreats. Then I woke up and realized that to fulfill all your and my dreams there was a mountain of money, a ton of talented people each doing piecing, web sites, teaching, manning the cutting tables and a endless supply of energy on my part to keep it all going. Mom always said that the one thing that was free was dreaming. She was right!
    Sally Dolin
    Rock Island, IL

  11. #36
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    A quilt shop in my area recently closed. I would have shopped there more often, except that it seemed really cliquey, with the owner having her baby in the shop and visiting with her friends all day making me feel like an intruder whenever I walked in. What also bugged me was that she would have these lovely quilts hanging on the wall and when I asked her to show me where those particular fabrics were, she would say that the fabrics had been discontinued.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Bneighbor's Avatar
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    We used to have a cute little shop here in town (closed due to family illness) that had "sewing night". Shop was closed to the public, but open for those who signed up. Shop opened at 8:00 pm and we sewed until 2 or 3 in the morning. You signed up to bring your unfinished projects, new projects, etc. Coffee, tea, juice, popcorn were provided and everyone brought a coverd dish to share (Decided from a sign up sheet). Everyone wore their Pj's and sewed, laughed, ate and finished their projects. The store was open for us to purchase notions and fabrics we might need for that night. Once a month the group would gather. The one time I was able to go there were 6 of us. What a blast!
    I vote for this as an addition to "our" store.

  13. #38
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    Sounds great but I am not sure you could make it doing all you are asking for. Samples come out of profit, in addition to the fabric do you have someone who is willing to sew for minimum wage? Do you have someone with the time to do it right now while the fabric is still there?

    As for classes, I am not sure how other stores do it but in my area the teacher is paid by the student - in addition to that they pay for the supplies (yes there is a discount on those) and labor for the class sample. If you had put in $50 - $60 for your class sample and were getting paid $6/per student per hr would you be willing to give up 4-5 hrs (travel time included) plus $3 - $6 dollars in gas for the $18 (3 hr class) you would make if you only had 1 student.

    Would you be willing to make $0 profit to move fabric out of your store so that you could buy newer fabric (and where is that money coming from) that may or may not sell.

    Personally as long as the staff are friendly and helpful in my LQS I am shopping there. They may not always have what I want fabric wise, but if they do I will normally (unless I get a smoking deal) buy there. Pattern and notion wise, the stores have minimums that they have to purchase. If I have to buy 6 of a costly item that I know that only 1 person will purchase is that a good use of my funds.

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to have all of the things you mentioned but I honestly don't think that we have the big picture on how hard it is to make it as a LQS.

  14. #39
    Junior Member KathyE's Avatar
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    The one problem that our (former) quilt shop had was, she would have a sample hanging in the store but would not have the pattern or else she would not have the fabric that was used for it. Very frustrating but I do understand that they can't have everything all the time.

  15. #40
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    You have some very good ideas and as a former quilt shop owner I can see how most of them would be very helpful. I know one problem with our shop was not enough samples and the same ones were left there for too long. Also, we didn't make kits of our samples. That would have been a big help. Classes, classes and more classes are always a big help in keeping the shop going. Sometimes teachers are hard to find and it is hard to know what people are wanting to learn.
    Lorraine

  16. #41
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    seamstome I sounds to me like you are ready to open a shop, it would be one I would go to. SOOOOoooo What is will the name of your shop be, where is your shop going to be and when is it going to open. LOL

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bneighbor View Post
    We used to have a cute little shop here in town (closed due to family illness) that had "sewing night". Shop was closed to the public, but open for those who signed up. Shop opened at 8:00 pm and we sewed until 2 or 3 in the morning. You signed up to bring your unfinished projects, new projects, etc. Coffee, tea, juice, popcorn were provided and everyone brought a coverd dish to share (Decided from a sign up sheet). Everyone wore their Pj's and sewed, laughed, ate and finished their projects. The store was open for us to purchase notions and fabrics we might need for that night. Once a month the group would gather. The one time I was able to go there were 6 of us. What a blast!
    I vote for this as an addition to "our" store.
    I would realy like that yippie

  18. #43
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I would like to see deals if you preorder whole bolts. Additionally e- mails that allert when new fabrics are arriving with images of what those fabrics are. Too many times I have gone to a LQS only to find less on a bolt than what I need, and no way to get additional.
    The additional night hours is a huge issue.
    Where are you in IL ?

  19. #44
    Senior Member germanquilter's Avatar
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    Great ideas! With regard to classes, we have two local quilt shops here and both offer classes. However one requires you to buy their " fabric kit" to go with each class in addition to class fee and other supplies like rulers/books etc. The other store does not require for you to buy your fabric there but if you do they give a 205 discount on all supplies bought for a particular class. I absolutely will support my LQS but sometimes I do have the perfect focus fabric in my stash and just need some blenders etc. so I drive 30 minutes longer to the LQS that lets me do that. And I tend to buy more while there because I don't feel pressured to buy!

  20. #45
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    Seamstome your store sounds wonderful. I would only add plenty of workers to work the cutting table.

  21. #46
    Senior Member germanquilter's Avatar
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    Oops 205 was 20% percent discount......fat fingers :/

  22. #47
    Super Member Wonnie's Avatar
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    The Red Rooster in Columbus, Oh has all the ingredients mentioned...wonderful place to shop...many samples...staff eager to help...visible LA Quilter so you can watch...all kinds of new products and fabrics...mega patterns and the products to complete them...classes. It's 50 miles from my home but well worth the drive.

  23. #48
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    For marketing:

    Listen to your customers, they may just have some great ideas.

    Label all quilt samples with at least the pattern name. You might want to add when a class on that technique is available.

    If you post weekly or monthly mass e-mails, do so professionally. One of the e-mails I get is just regular e-mail. All the others have the pictures, logo, and lots of information. Guess where I don't go.

    One of our LQS has a web site program where they do the managing of what goes on the site. They can add pictures and script. They have control.

    Special events are great. Get the customers in the store, then they will buy or at least remember you with fondness and return quicker. With special events make sure you have enough staff for cutting fabric and checking customers out.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  24. #49
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    I love your ideas. Can I open a shop with you? I am the person who posted about all our shops closing in my area. I have found out this weekend that there are two more that I go to in Illinois that are closing. I WANT quality fabric. I admit to being a fabric snob, but that is just me. I like the idea of changing the samples more often, my husband found a quilt that he loved but it was made with material that we could not find (we went to about 30 different shops looking) I am making the pattern but he really wanted made with the same material.

  25. #50
    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the local LQS have workshops/classes only for their machines. I would make sure the workshop/classes included every machine and have on hand personnel that would know about it not just one specific person who works there. Don't get me wrong; its great to have someone who is proficient in 1 brand, but when that person is not there and one is told to come back another time, or I am told I don't know anything about that machine. Well that puts me off of going back to that LQS.
    Its great to sell just one line of machines, but not all of us can afford the 12-15 thousand for their brand of machines. We are uniquely different as our machines are as well.
    When Life brings big winds of change that almost blows you over.Hang on tight and Believe.
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